Jason and the Argonauts: B+ Movie Edition

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Faneditor Name:
Original Movie Title:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
1963
Original Running Time:
104
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
89
Time Cut:
15
Time Added:
0.5
Subtitles Available?
Available in HD?
Brief Synopsis:
The adventure you remember... only with considerably tighter pacing, enhanced stop motion, and more.
Intention:
For those unfamiliar with my slowly growing B+ Movie edits, the aim is always to improve upon the film without making drastic changes to the narrative. Lots of small cuts and trims and tweaks to improve pacing, remove or improve lesser FX shots etc.

Jason and The Argonauts is not strictly a B movie in terms of the budget, but it's certainly one in spirit. Its budget of 3 million wasn't exactly high for a fantasy epic either. Many aspects such as the acting, the plot and the presence of Harryhausen's effects give it a familiarity with some of his earlier monster movies from the 50s.

The film has much to love in terms of spectacle, but the script is very weak, the acting laughable and the pacing gives snails a run for their money. Some of the obvious offenders are moments where shots are recycled, unnecessarily doubling a scene's length; lack of location continuity (the discovery of Talos being one example, where characters literally look like they're teleporting back to places they've already been); and overlong pauses between dialogue, making it feel unnatural (this can be observed most overtly in Jason's initial exchange with the gods, and I would attribute it to the nature of the FX and characters possibly having their dialogue filmed separately).

Similarly to my approach with Creature From The Black Lagoon, no scenes have been removed and the majority of shots are retained. The drop in runtime chiefly comes from shortening the lengths of shots or removing repeated/recycled shots (of which there are a lot). A small amount of dialogue has been tweaked and details are specified in the cut list. In total, approx 15 minutes have been removed, but the film should more or less be how you remember it - only better paced!
Additional Notes:
PLEASE NOTE: There are some hiccups in the surround track that I've been made aware of and will address as soon as I can. In the meantime, the mono track will probably give you the best experience :)
Other Sources:
Freesound.org
Special Thanks:
I'm thankful to all who contributed, in whatever capacity. Particular shoutouts to: Addiesin, hbenthow, flaminio, DigModiFicaTion, and lapis molari for feedback and encouragement. Extra special thanks to lapis for proofing my final file and finalising subtitles.
Release Information:
Digital
Special Features
English Subtitles
Trailer
Editing Details:
This is the first HD entry in the B+ series, and it is also the first entry to feature stop motion, of which (where possible) I have been using RIFE and DAIN to increase the framerate of the animation to allow for smoother motion. By this, I do not mean throwing the film into a program and increasing everything to super-high framerates, of which there are examples of on youtube. The whole film remains at 23.976 fps and any stop motion that drops to a lower framerate is brought up to match the rest of the action. Sometimes when footage is already at peak framerate but still looks jittery, some frames are discarded and replaced with smoother ones. Where animation is on-screen with live-action, the animated footage is masked out separately so that the live-action footage is not affected by these changes. Motion blur has also been selectively applied.

I didn't want to go crazy with this, and in some instances, I did not think the change was a welcome one. So I've tried to apply this sparingly and carefully, sometimes going frame by frame to remove/swap out failed frames and keep it from looking like it's gone through a gimmick blender. If frames started blurring or distorting and I couldn't make it work, I didn't force it.

The enhancements to animation is a controversial move, and I expect it won't appeal to everyone. Harryhausen was a master and I love his work. This is merely an experiment. I'm open to criticism and I'd be very interested to hear people's thoughts on the result. Unless it's badly received, I think I am likely to experiment and improve this work further for future B+ edits that feature stop motion animation.
Cuts and Additions:
THE GIST

- Numerous tiny trims for pacing, without cutting any scenes and retaining the majority of shots (unless repeated)
- Minor tweaks to one or two lines of dialogue (most significant being Medea doesn't profess love to Jason), otherwise the narrative is intact and how you remember it.
- Various visual adjustments to aid timing, smooth animation etc.

FULL-ISH CUTLIST

Soooo many tweaks made I can't possibly list them all. Lots of tiny trims. The following is not exhaustive, but probably the majority of tweaks I can recall or have remembered to take note of. Specifics on tweaks to animation are not listed below but detailed elsewhere (but 80% of what's there has had some kind of processing done. only a handful of shots remain untouched. If not touched this is mainly because I wasn't able to make a significant improvement or I wanted to keep it from uncanny valley).

- 0:00 - added source warning
- 0:14 - added FE logo
- 0:26 - added scribbling man credit to titles
- 0:35 - added "B+" title
- 4:10 - 5:00 - several trims to raid and temple entrance/tweaks to timing of shots
- 4:47 - Cut soldier awkwardly running around with baby, then pausing in front of Hermes. It also slows the pacing of the scene and feels better to cut back and forth more between the woman running away and her pursuer
- 7:20 - trimmed transition to Olympus
- 9:09 - minor trim
- 9:23 - General trims and slightly altered the convoluted almost-drowning of Polias. Hera frightens the horse, sending him flying into the water, then Jason dives in to rescue him. Nothing more.
- 9:46 - cut random reference to Hera's presence in the water (slight reworking of audio to accommodate)
- 10:27 - cut Hera's reappearance
- Somewhere between the above and below takes, a wobble frame was fixed. Can't remember where it was though!
- 15:06 - Trimmed Herme's transformation
- 15:23 - trimmed Herme's ascension
- 15:30 - trimmed shot
- 15:33 - trimmed shot
- 15:37 - trimmed Jason's ascension (we don't see the Olympus cloud montage for a 2nd time. Re-timed and replaced explosion sound for when Jason ascends)
- 16:11 - trimmed Hermes arrival and approaching Zeus
- 16:17 - Generally there are some trims to this sequence to help the pacing and reduce awkward pauses in dialogue (I assume brought on by FX shots of tiny Jason needing to be filmed separately)
- 16:22 - trimmed Hermes opening hand
- 16:26 - cut repeated shots of Zeus and Jason.
- 16:29 - Cut "welcome to Olympus, Jason"
- 16:36 - masked Hermes so that he walks away sooner, allowing for tweaks to Jason and Zeus' dialogue
- 16:38 - 16:43 - Trimmed unnatural gaps with Jason and Zeus' exchange (rearranged Herme's footsteps to accommodate continuity)
- 17:01 - minor trim
- 18:36 - minor trim
- 19:23 - Extended crowd noise before the announcement of Hercules
- 19:25 - Cut Hercules saying "he's here" (weird 3rd person line, and poor FX shot)
- 19:46 - Cut Hylas looking about and saying "Hercules... yes....". We go straight to him meeting him in the crowd.
- 21:04 - Hercules' discus now hits the rock and falls straight down (previously it went up and then down, making it very obvious that it was on a string)
- 21:28 - cut repeated shots of gods laughing and Hera looking into pool
- 22:11 - bad slo-mo shot of flag has been interpolated to look a lot smoother
- 23:07 - Hera figurehead does not open her eyes during this first meeting (it's more mysterious when stationary, and the jerky motion makes it look cheap)
- 23:37 - Hera does not move her eyes
- 23:48 - trims to travel montage
- 24:09 - Trimmed Hera watching
- 24:30 - Trimmed Argos looking at sun
- 27:45 - Trimmed arrival montage
- 28:00 - trimmed shot
- 28:09 - trimmed shot
- 28:13 - cut repeated shot
- 28:20 - fixed jarring audio cut inherent in the original film
- 29:07 - Trimmed goats running away
- 29:14 - trimmed Hercules getting up. trimmed running through greenery
- 29:21 - music cue for Talos now occurs just before we see him as we see characters looking up. Introduces a brief sense of anticipation for the viewer.
- 29:26 - Trimmed shots of Talos/Cut repeated shots of Talos
- 29:41 - moved some of the character dialogue so that it is spoken as they walk.
- 29:46 - Removed repeat shot of Talos and shots of characters in greenery when they have already moved beyond it (jarring location continuity). The two shots of them walking from a distance have been merged into a single shot and new frames created to fill the gap.
- 29:54 - cut repeated shot of Talos and repeated shot of them in greenery again (despite plainly being on gravel by the entrance to the trove in the shot prior)
- 30:02 - after Hylas calls Hercules, we cut to the distance shot of him signalling for him to follow (whereas previously there was another shot of them slowly walking before this happened)
- 30:09 - slight trim. The shot doesn't need to linger on Hercules loitering
- 30:28 - Trimmed entrance to treasure trove
- 31:46 - Trimmed backing out of trove
- 31:53 - trimmed shot of circling with spears. Trimmed shot of Hercules
- 31:56 - Trimmed time it takes for Talos to react
- 32:00 - Trimmed Hercules response. Trimmed backing away

Listing every cut on Talos will take me till I'm 80. Let's just say A LOT was trimmed. Practically every shot. Plenty of repeated shots removed. A rough overview/some specifics:

- Trimmed hiding in cave
- cut shot of hiding in cave
- Various trims to people running/rowing away
- Trimmed Talos grabbing people
- Cut repeated shot of ship
- 34:47 - Man now screams and falls back AFTER Talos grabs the boat
- Sped up shot of Jason unplugging the heel
- Sped up shot of Talos looking at people
- Removed several shots of Talos dying, and moved one of his more satisfying screams to go underneath kept shots
- 39:34 - increased framerate, slowed down and removed certain frames in order to make Talos's crash to the ground look more "weighty" and less like he's made of plastic.

- 40:10 - Trimmed montage
- 41:34 - Hercules leaves boat quicker
- 42:24 - Movement of Hera's eyes smoothed
- 43:20 - Montage trim!
- 44 :15 - 45:39 - several trims to improve pacing of Harpies entrance and attack
- 46:24 - trimmed shot of soldiers running towards ruins
- 47:53 - trimmed transition into Harpie night attack
- 48:03-49:54 - general trims for pacing throughout
- 49:50 - fixed glitchy Harpie wing on right-hand side (but kept left-hand movement, based on lapis molari's feedback)
- 51:06 - cut repeated shot of harpies

The clashing rocks sequence is probably the most pacey, laborious sequence in the entire film. A LOT of trims here.

- 51:45 -52:38 - general trims as ship pulls into clashing rocks
- 53:31 - 54:21 - trimmed destruction of ship
- 53:53 - Acastus doesn't pull the rope to kill the man on the masthead, but he doesn't make any move to save him. (While he is there to sabotage the mission, it seems silly that he would look for opportunities to kill crewmen when his own life is at risk along with the rest of the ship. Also - it's a badly executed bit of physical acting that I couldn't read initially)
- 55:27 - cut repeated shots of Jason and boat
- 55:36 - cut several repeated shots of boat and crew
- 56:31 -58:05 - trims, trims and more trims
- 58:05 - cut several repeated shots
- 59:07 - trimmed rescue of Medea from sea

- 1:03:06ish - in the original film their swords clash here and there is no sound. Now there is!
- 1:03:56 - Trimmed Euphemus diving after Acastus
- 1:05:19 - Trimmed Jason's wound healing
- 1:05:32 - 1:07:17 - Cut repeated shots of Jason watching dance - it mostly plays out uninterrupted (but still trimmed!) a few tricky audio edits here
- 1:07:17 - 1:07:34 - trimmed king's entrance
- 1:08:05 - trims to address
- 1:08:10 - shot of Jason swapped for one of the king
- 1:09:06 - trimmed festivities
- 1:11:05 - trimmed Medea's reaction and entrance to the temple
- 1:13:28 - this marks what (believe it or not) was probably the most difficult audio edit across the film. It's also the most major narrative tweak and I was toying with whether to make it or not. Essentially, Medea no longer confesses she loves Jason, so that is not the reason for going with him. The emphasis is now on the fact that she has betrayed her country, and has no choice but to leave with them when they go. Bunch of tweaks to scoring and playing with reverb to get room ambience right here.
- 1:14:22 - trimmed escape and guards entrance
- 1:15:11 - trimmed shot of Acastus
- 1:15:28 - trimmed shot of boat
- 1:16:11 - small trim to Jason walking up to tree
- 1:16:16 - 1:18:14 - numerous trims to Hydra sequence, cut repeated shots... you know the drill
- 1:18:14 - here you normally have a shot of the dead hydra, a repeat shot of Jason, a repeat shot of Medea, a repeat shot of the dead hydra, a repeat shot of Medea, and then Jason walking towards Medea. This is the kind of pacey editing that I've tried to combat throughout the entire edit. In this instance, it's ONE shot of the dead Hydra, none of the recycled shots, and straight to a trimmed shot of Jason walking towards Medea.
- 1:18:16 - the shot of Jason walking towards Medea is broken up with a shot of Medea, just after we see Jason and her exchange glances from a distance. We then cut back and Jason runs towards her.
- 1:18:56 - slight trim to soldiers moving through woods
- 1:19:24 - trimmed getting fleece
- 1:19:28 - trimmed shots of Aeetes, and Jason and co running away
- 1:19:28 - 1:19:49 - general trims etc to improve pacing of the soldiers running through woods and Jason and co running away
- 1:20:12 - in the original film a repeat shot of the Hydra's teeth falling from the sky is very obviously looped. We now see it ONCE
- 1:20:16 - trimmed shot of flames and a couple of quick trims to reaction shots
- 1:20:22 - trims to flames
- 1:20:46 - trimmed fetching the Hydras teeth (I can't even believe how slow they make this simple action)
- 1:21:11 - 1:21:23 - trims to cliff chase
- 1:21:33 - emphasised/added sound effect when arrow is pulled out from Medea (you can't really hear anything in the original)
- 1:21:54 - trimmed reaction shots
- 1:22:04 - trimmed healing of Medea (and cut "it's true! it really does have the power to heal!")

1:23:09 - 1:27:13 - Skeletons/Hydra's teeth:

- Generally, people don't stop and stare and wait for the dead to rise, they are much more active. For example, at 1:23:20 - 1:23:35, the order for Argos to take Medea down to the ship is normally followed by them drawing their swords - and then they just stare. Here, the order comes first and they back off a bit. Then we cut to the finishing of the sowing of the teeth, and then they draw their swords in readiness. A bit more cutting back and forth gives a better sense of pacing and reaction to what's going on.
- lots of trims to the actual raising of the skeletons, which is incredibly slow in the original. Reactions shots are cut or re-ordered.
- Lots less of King Aeetes saying "there!" and "another one!"
- There are some general trims to the approach of the skeletons
- The fight itself has some trims here and there. In general, it is probably the best-edited sequence in the theatrical film. Really nicely choreographed and paced. I just made some slight pacing tweaks, but a lot of it is actually intact
- Animation enhancements have been applied throughout the majority of shots. Mostly motion blur. Only a handful of shots have had interpolation here.
- 1:25:31 - 1:25:35 - a lot of work was done here to correct the reaction time of the soldier. It's very slight, but whereas before he looked like he was obeying the choreography and raising his sword to block before the skeleton attacked, he now raises his sword AS the skeleton attacks.

Following the skeleton fight, the final ending is basically intact.
Trailer

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Overall rating
 
9.6
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9.8(10)
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9.7(10)
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9.6(10)
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9.7(10)
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9.5(10)
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9.3
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I can't find any fault with this edit as it improves substantially on the original film without losing anything in the process. The film feels smoother and tighter with, what must have been, a large number of micro edits. The improvement in the stop motion is also really impressive and brings the film a bit more up to date (even if the dialogue gives away its age). Overall a very impressive edit and I don't know why anybody would go back to the original after seeing this.

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I've always considered 'Jason and the Argonauts' to be a fun enough movie, but the reality of watching it never quite lives up to the movie I recall in my head. While 'Jason' is a really excellent showcase of Ray Harryhausen's stop motion work... its pacing and performances haven't aged well.

Well now The Scribbling Man has assembled the film as I thought I knew it. What once felt like plotty filler in between effects sequences, now actually feels like momentum building. And all without betraying it's status as a fanedit. The cuts and the pacing feel genuine. I love how the effects blossom as the movie goes along, starting with the awakening of Talos all the way through to the battle with the Hydra. It's funny, for all the warranted hype surrounding the skeleton battle - and the fact that I've seen the film 2 or 3 times before - I guess I was so wrapped up in the story this time that I forgot the film ended on that sequence. Perhaps it's because these sword and sandals fantasies tend to blur together for me, or perhaps because I was so taken by The Scribbling Man's work smoothing out the stop motion, especially on the seven-headed Hydra sequence, which feels like it would be the grand finale in any other film.

And it's The Scribbling Man's smoothing of the stop motion which brings this fanedit to the next level. The effects now feel so natural without taking anything away from the great work Harrhausen did. This honestly feels like an excellent tribute to the man and I think if the technology had existed he would have utilized whatever he could to achieve smoother motion, much like the "go-motion" effect that Phil Tippet perfected in films like Robocop 2 and Willow. Props to the Scribbbling man for isolating the stop motion creatures so his tweaks didn't ruin the movement of the other elements in the shot.

All in all this film is blast. Going forward, it will not only be replacing the original as my go-to version, but I will likely be going back to this edit more than I would the theatrical cut. Amazing job.

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Really loved this edit, this will now be my preferred way of watching this film.
Cutting the film to an hour thirty really does help the film! While keeping all scenes to the point in terms of dialogue.
10/10. Made one of my fav harryhausen films even better!

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I have been a Ray Harryhausen fan all my life. But I'm not blind to the fact that, in the non-stop-motion parts, these movies don't always have the best pacing. "Jason" is not the worst at that (looking at you, "The Valley of Gwangi"), but in any case, this B+ Movie edition kept me so highly entertained all through that it was over before I even realized. Not a dull moment, not a wasted bit. This is pretty much what should have been released back in 1963. So very entertaining! And while I don't think the effects themselves needed any kind of fixing, I love how they flow here. They move more naturally now, but they don't feel tweaked at all, they still have that old-timey flavor. If Harryhausen has to be retouched, this is the way.

Needless to say, as usual with the Scribbling edits, video and audio and encoding are first-rate. And being the big classic film fan that I am, I'll always welcome more edits of this sort (Harryhausen or otherwise). A real joy to watch!
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I'm a lifelong fan of Harryhausen films and have seen Jason and the Argonauts dozens of times over the years. It's a fantastic classic Fantasy Adventure! As soon as I read the description for this fan edit, I knew I had to check it out!

In short: EXCELLENT!!

I knew going in that the trims to the movie were extensive, but watching it is impossible to tell and as someone who's seen this movie so many times even I couldn't spot any of the edits. The work done here to tighten up the editing and smooth out some of the already excellent stop-motion effects are, to my eyes, invisible. And, IMO, that's one high accomplishment! It was only reading through the cut list afterwards that I really came to understand just how much was actually trimmed, and even the biggest change to the narrative - Medea no longer confessing her love for Jason - was so superbly removed that I never noticed it was missing. If I have any nitpick, it's my personal distaste for fan edits altering the title but I'm far too happy with this edit to dock even one point for that.

A great companion piece to original theatrical cut, and one I highly recommend!

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Owner's reply January 23, 2022

Glad you liked it! Thank you for taking the time to review. Much appreciated :)

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